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Where to plug in the camera?

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#1 sdeming

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 01:12 PM

Hello,

 

I'm actually taking something from another thread of mine, which was dealing with frames being dropped. I am using a QHY294C imaging camera. My question is this - can I run this camera through a powered USB 3.0 hub and then run the hub into my laptop? Currently, I'm running the camera cable directly into my laptop through a port that is next to another port for which I am running the USB hub. Someone suggested that perhaps having both cables running into the side by side USB ports might be causing the data transfer drops. But, I think I also read somewhere that these cameras don't fair well when running through a hub. Any thoughts?

 

Thank you,

 

Scott



#2 Midnight Dan

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 01:24 PM

The camera will work fine through a powered USB 3 hub.  Anyone with a large rig, especially in an observatory, uses a hub because you have many USB devices on your mount.  Not sure where you heard they don't work well though a hub but that's not true as long as the hub is powered.

 

-Dan


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#3 sdeming

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 01:28 PM

The camera will work fine through a powered USB 3 hub.  Anyone with a large rig, especially in an observatory, uses a hub because you have many USB devices on your mount.  Not sure where you heard they don't work well though a hub but that's not true as long as the hub is powered.

 

-Dan

Awesome, thanks Dan! This is the hub I'm using https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1



#4 charlieb123

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 01:46 PM

As Dan says, should be fine.
You can take it a step further and go with a powered USB hub extension which uses an ethernet cable between the USB hub and receiver at your computer.

 

I use a 4 port extender that allows me to use up to a 300ft RJ45 cable (I use a 75ft) allowing me to monitor imaging sessions from the couch without the dropouts associated with wifi connections.
All my devices are USB 2.0 so I went with a cheaper unit but there are USB 3.0 extensions available.



#5 aleigh

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 01:51 PM

It works fine, if the hub is of good quality. Some hubs (I have a drawer with a couple of them) will start dropping USB frames when they are under a lot of load, like steady disk access, or, a large steady stream of data like from a camera especially if it is doing video. The first time I noticed this I had a keyboard and a disk drive plugged into the same hub, and when I did large disk transfers, my key presses would start getting "stuck". I eventually worked out this was because the keyboard sends KEY_DOWN and KEY_UP and the KEY_UP when I released the key was getting lost in the hub. So my advice is don't cheap out. 


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#6 Kring

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 02:33 PM

I am no Astrophotographer, but I am an experienced It guy - I can say a few things to hopefully help.  First, using a hub should not be an issue for any devices,  however it needs to be a quality hub and preferably powered which power draw is common issue if multiple devices need power and USB does have fairly low limits.  So cheap amazon unpowered hubs will give you issues on anything that has power demand or high speed data transfer.  So spend the $50 on a quality high speed hub with power.  The hub you have is powered so you should be good, my next move would be to question your cables..

Next, cables are almost always the issued with devices not being recognized or transfers having hicups or drops.   The generic cables rarely support spec for high speed transfer and a 10MP camera is sendinf a LOT of data real-time.  I would get quality cables for the camera to hub and hub to PC.  Distance is a major issues, USB is only good for 3ft, between 3-6ft you have degradation, good cables can shield this, over 6ft will commonly fail under load.  10ft and you are lucky if the device eill even be detected as connected to your system. Rule of thumb is go with the shortest possible cable.

 

now on the PC side it can depend,  side-by-side ports may be tied to a single motherboard controller, which then yes - they could step on one another.  Newer or more expensive laptops usually have independent controllers.   You can check this in device manager by having both ports occupied, then sort device manager by connection (instead of type up on the view menu) and drill down and they will either tie to the sam USB controller or show separate.  
 

USB is very susceptible to other processes on the PC running and taking priority causing frame drops,  older PCs will struggle more with larger data sets.   A way to do a quick test of this is if you have two USB sticks copy a large video file between them, or capture video to each stick and see if you get waves or blips in the file transfer box details (the green graph windows pops up when transferring files) if that isn’t a fairly steady average FPS you could have USB bandwidth challenges and that may be fixable by finding what else is impacting the system during those blips.   One of the worst offending apps is an Antivirus program, another can be software installed by your laptop manufacturer, junk they load on to monitor your system.

 

this is wave 1 troublshooting - based on what you come back with we can narrow down some more causes and fixes.


Edited by Kring, 19 January 2021 - 02:37 PM.

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#7 sdeming

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 05:43 PM

I am no Astrophotographer, but I am an experienced It guy - I can say a few things to hopefully help.  First, using a hub should not be an issue for any devices,  however it needs to be a quality hub and preferably powered which power draw is common issue if multiple devices need power and USB does have fairly low limits.  So cheap amazon unpowered hubs will give you issues on anything that has power demand or high speed data transfer.  So spend the $50 on a quality high speed hub with power.  The hub you have is powered so you should be good, my next move would be to question your cables..

Next, cables are almost always the issued with devices not being recognized or transfers having hicups or drops.   The generic cables rarely support spec for high speed transfer and a 10MP camera is sendinf a LOT of data real-time.  I would get quality cables for the camera to hub and hub to PC.  Distance is a major issues, USB is only good for 3ft, between 3-6ft you have degradation, good cables can shield this, over 6ft will commonly fail under load.  10ft and you are lucky if the device eill even be detected as connected to your system. Rule of thumb is go with the shortest possible cable.

 

now on the PC side it can depend,  side-by-side ports may be tied to a single motherboard controller, which then yes - they could step on one another.  Newer or more expensive laptops usually have independent controllers.   You can check this in device manager by having both ports occupied, then sort device manager by connection (instead of type up on the view menu) and drill down and they will either tie to the sam USB controller or show separate.  
 

USB is very susceptible to other processes on the PC running and taking priority causing frame drops,  older PCs will struggle more with larger data sets.   A way to do a quick test of this is if you have two USB sticks copy a large video file between them, or capture video to each stick and see if you get waves or blips in the file transfer box details (the green graph windows pops up when transferring files) if that isn’t a fairly steady average FPS you could have USB bandwidth challenges and that may be fixable by finding what else is impacting the system during those blips.   One of the worst offending apps is an Antivirus program, another can be software installed by your laptop manufacturer, junk they load on to monitor your system.

 

this is wave 1 troublshooting - based on what you come back with we can narrow down some more causes and fixes.

Wow! Thanks so much for the fantastic information! I will certainly look into all of the above.



#8 Voska

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 08:49 PM

I am no Astrophotographer, but I am an experienced It guy - I can say a few things to hopefully help.  First, using a hub should not be an issue for any devices,  however it needs to be a quality hub and preferably powered which power draw is common issue if multiple devices need power and USB does have fairly low limits.  So cheap amazon unpowered hubs will give you issues on anything that has power demand or high speed data transfer.  So spend the $50 on a quality high speed hub with power.  The hub you have is powered so you should be good, my next move would be to question your cables..

Next, cables are almost always the issued with devices not being recognized or transfers having hicups or drops.   The generic cables rarely support spec for high speed transfer and a 10MP camera is sendinf a LOT of data real-time.  I would get quality cables for the camera to hub and hub to PC.  Distance is a major issues, USB is only good for 3ft, between 3-6ft you have degradation, good cables can shield this, over 6ft will commonly fail under load.  10ft and you are lucky if the device eill even be detected as connected to your system. Rule of thumb is go with the shortest possible cable.

 

I do want to correct this... USB2.0 has a maximum "spec" length of 5 meters (16ft) while USB3.0/3.1 is about 3 Meters (10ft). Many of us run cables to this length. Even on my own rig I run a USB3.0 cable from my 294mm to my laptop (which being a ZWO also carries the Filter Wheel and the 174mm mini guide camera) and have not had a single issue with data transfer. Good cables do matter though so don't just go buying the cheapest AND never rule out the possibility of a low quality cable. I also run a 16ft USB 2.0 cable from my EQ6-R pro to my laptop again... no issues. Any cable OVER these specified lengths are usually "active" cables meaning that have something in them to boost their length. Though again in the IT world if we ever need to go over spec length most of us prefer to use the USB over ethernet cables.

And for obvious reasons make sure you plug USB 3.0 cables into 3.0 ports. USB 2.0 it really doesn't matter but since I'm using an older laptop i plug the 2.0 into the 2.0 and the 3.0 into the 3.0


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#9 sdeming

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Posted 19 January 2021 - 09:13 PM

I do want to correct this... USB2.0 has a maximum "spec" length of 5 meters (16ft) while USB3.0/3.1 is about 3 Meters (10ft). Many of us run cables to this length. Even on my own rig I run a USB3.0 cable from my 294mm to my laptop (which being a ZWO also carries the Filter Wheel and the 174mm mini guide camera) and have not had a single issue with data transfer. Good cables do matter though so don't just go buying the cheapest AND never rule out the possibility of a low quality cable. I also run a 16ft USB 2.0 cable from my EQ6-R pro to my laptop again... no issues. Any cable OVER these specified lengths are usually "active" cables meaning that have something in them to boost their length. Though again in the IT world if we ever need to go over spec length most of us prefer to use the USB over ethernet cables.

And for obvious reasons make sure you plug USB 3.0 cables into 3.0 ports. USB 2.0 it really doesn't matter but since I'm using an older laptop i plug the 2.0 into the 2.0 and the 3.0 into the 3.0

Thank you for clarifying!



#10 sdeming

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Posted 22 January 2021 - 08:54 AM

Update on this topic. I went out two nights ago for some testing and tuning. I used the original cable that came with the camera and plugged it into the USB powered hub. I then ran this cable https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1 from the hub to my laptop. Everything worked perfectly!

 

Thank you again for all of your great input! So much appreciated!!!

 

Scott




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